An Introduction to French White Wines
Some of the finest white wines in the world, such as the famous Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc, come from France. Here is an introduction to the top finest white wines.
Chardonnay has two primary styles, one is from the region of Côte de Beaune in, and the other one from a region called Chablis. Both regions are in Burgundy. Chardonnay from the Côte de Beaune is oaked and features full-bodied and dry flavors. The typical flavors include vanilla, yellow apple, hazelnut, and lemon curd. Furthermore, there are notes of crème fraîche and mushrooms.
On the other hand, Chardonnay from Chablis is an unoaked, light-bodied wine that features flavors of starfruit, lemon, and lime. Plus, there are some notes of chalk and spring blossom.
Sémillon grows in the region of Bordeaux and is almost by default blended with Sauvignon Blanc. Same as the Chardonnay, it has two primary styles. One is the Sémillon blend, which is a light-bodied and dry white wine featuring notes of honeysuckle flowers, grapefruit, grass, and lemon.
Whereas the other style, the more famous one, is grown in the area of Sauternes. This is a sweet dessert wine featuring flavors of citrus, honey, ginger, and apricot. In addition to the main flavors, there are subtle notes of marmalade and jasmine.
Sauvignon Blanc is a light-bodied and dry white wine with flavors of white peach, grapefruit, honeydew, green pear, and grass. In addition to the Bordeaux region, Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in the Pessac Leognan region. There they make oaked Sauvignon Blanc that is medium-bodied and dry. Its primary flavors include fresh bread, sage, peak, and grapefruit, whereas its secondary flavors include notes of butter. Very often, Sauvignon Blanc is mixed with Semillon to produce a sweet white wine.
Chenin Blanc is a white wine that is made in three styles: a sparkling wine, a sweet wine, and a dry wine. Its dry style is fairly light-bodied and features aromas of lemon, honeysuckle, citrus blossom, green pear, and peach. The sparkling style can feature different ranges of sweetness but, in most cases, has aromas of lemon peel, white peach, and citrus blossom. Yeast and cream are its secondary aromas that are not that apparent. Last but not least, its sweet wine is characterized by flavors of orange blossom, ginger, marzipan, honey, apricot, and peach.
Melon de Bourgogne
Melon de Bourgogne is grown in the region of Muscadet Taste Muscade, which is located in the Loire Valley. These are light-bodied wines that are as lean as they are dry. Their primary flavors include brine, mango, quince, and lime. Then there are some secondary notes of yeast and lager. Because of its light character and savory taste, many people drink it as an alternative to a cold beer.
This sweet dessert wine can be either medium or full-bodied. Its primary aromas include honeysuckle, perfume, peach, apple, and mandarin orange. Plus, there are subtle notes of vanilla bean and nutmeg. Sometimes, Muscat Blanc is mixed with Pays d’Oc because of its perfumey-aromas.
White Wines from the Region of Alsace
There are three Alsace white wines: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris.
The French Gewürztraminer is a dry white wine featuring flavors of grapefruit, citrus zest, green apple, and lime. The secondary notes are incense smoke and tarragon.
This white wine is a relatively sweet wine that has notes of red grapefruit, apple, honey, apricot, and peach. On the subtle side, there are notes of smoke and zest.
The Alsace Riesling is made in a dry style featuring notes of grapefruit, zest, citrus, apple, and lime. The secondary palette of notes consists of white pepper and sweet basil.
If you are a wine lover, then there is a pretty good chance that you’ve tried some or perhaps all of these French white wines. Each of them is unique in its own right and brings something different to any table.
However, the list of excellent French white wines doesn’t end with the ones mentioned here. Some of the best white wines from France tend to fly under the radar. They are Ugni Blanc, Picpoul de Pinet, Grenache Blanc, Aligote, Gros Manseng, Picpoul de Pinet, and many others. Whenever the opportunity occurs, please don’t shy away from the opportunity to taste them. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.